Vardavar, A Festival Of Pouring Out Love

A bucket of water for Vardavar

Vardavar is an old Armenian pagan tradition which is still observed until now. During Vardavar, people anywhere in Armenia has the practice of pouring water to anyone. Anyone means anybody. And I have witnessed and experienced it by myself. Begging and negotiation may work, but it is better to be always ready to be drenched with water during Vardavar. Or better stay home.

Looking back to the history of Vardavar, I love how it is connected to love. Asthgik, the goddess of love poured love to the whole land of Armenia in a form of rosewater. Since Vardavar festival commemorates this practice, should I consider all the waters poured on me as a symbol of love? Well then, thank you so much for all the love.

Do you want to experience Vardavar? Save the date for next year, July 1, 2018.

How was my Vardavar experience?

I was aware of this event and it will be my first time to witness or experience it. Well, I wasn’t even sure if I would go out in the streets to observe it. I have no idea how worse or good it is.

I was in the countryside this day in one of the villages in Aragats Province. A friend told me that we have to go out around 9 in the morning to take a walk. However, we went out around 12 noontime so I can catch the bus to go to another village. The streets in Byurakan were peaceful.

I was so at ease when I went down from the bus in Antarut. One child was standing near a drinking fountain with a small bucket. I remember Vardavar. The child kept looking at me, hesitant to splash water on me. In few Armenian words I know, I requested him not to pour water on me.

Everything was fine until a teenager with one liter of water came running towards me and in just a second he poured the water on my head. I was screaming and running but he was after me. Ok, running was of no use so I have to stop, protect my phone from getting wet. He only stopped when the water was finish.

I went to visit a family and walked on the streets partly wet. When I arrived, the kids were pouring water to each other already. I ran to the balcony, so they can’t splash water on me. But it was really fun seeing kids play.

But that wasn’t all. Not until I went back to Yerevan in the afternoon. I secured my phone inside my backpack just in case somebody will pour water. Thanks God, I reached the hostel with few sprays of water only.

The other guests in the hostel showed me some of their videos and somehow I got jealous of how fun they had in Swan Lake. They were taking a video and suddenly one guy poured water in his head. One went down to a small man-made lake and he enjoyed splashing water.

I know it was fun but I decided not to go out anymore. But a friend came and asked us to see what’s happening in Republic Square. Thinking it will only happen today, I joined the 4 guys to take a walk. I didn’t bring anything such as mobile or money, I was ready for what might happen. It will be all for fun.

We walked around the many streets but everything was calm. We reached Republic Square and there were still many people having fun. I searched for some container for water so I can pour water to that friend who’s ready to get wet.

I found a broken bucket but it can still hold water. Unexpected moments came. People are really free to pour water on you. Well, I was drenching from head to foot. I wasn’t able to get even with anybody.

I was like crazy running around to get away but someone is coming towards me as well. No escape at all. I accepted my fate that afternoon. It was been a long time since I ran as fast as I could and played like what I did during Vardavar.

I kept on running away or hiding from somebody’s back and gave up to pour water to anybody. I even ripped off one’s shirt while tagging him along so no one would splash water on me.

Then, I realized, what’s the use of running away if I am already drenching with water?

One of the guys I was with said we will go to Swan Lake. The three guys stayed in Republic Square.

A scene with people walking wet along the streets were normal on the day of Vardavar. You can see many people especially teenagers carrying water containers. I didn’t care walking along North Avenue with all wet clothes. I wasn’t alone, by the way.

Upon reaching Swan Lake, I was hesitant to go near the lake. I started to feel cold already. I sat down beside two older women, so I can have a shield.

But nobody wants to spare me. I was the target of those young teenagers again. I threw the water bottles I had, so no one will think I’ll be pouring water on them. But during Vardavar, you really don’t have a escape. Even your friend will pour water on you as well.

The two guys that poured water on me on Republic Square were also in Swan Lake that time. They said sorry tho but it was all fine. It was fun. The only thing that I didn’t like was when another group of young males tried to hold my hands to bring or may I say throw me to the Swan Lake. They didn’t succeed though but I was about to run and go home.

I really gave up to get even. So what I did was to sit in one of the benches. Whoever beside me got on trouble of being splashed with water.

It became too windy and it was really cold. But I loved sitting there and watch what’s happening around. Meanwhile, the other friend is also enjoying running after the other guys. Not until three guys held him and throw him in the Swan Lake. I just can’t stop laughing.

Conspiracy. There was an old man and a younger woman sitting on the benches as well. They were serious and were just watching. Accidentally, they got splashed with water but not enough to get them wet. They were not so happy about it.

My friend noticed it and the more he wanted to splash more water to that old man. He told me to go sit near them and he will splash water on me and to them. I wanted to, but I was trembling already. So he spoke to a younger Armenian guy about the plan. The guy didn’t understood well the plan and poured water directly to the old man.

They got so angry, the lady ran after the young man who ran as fast as he could. The old man and the lady approached the police about the incident. The police didn’t care about it. The nature of Vardavar is pouring water to anybody or should I say, spreading and pouring love to anybody.

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